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Road tests

Audi Q3 S line review

Sporty extras make Audi Q3 S Line a sweet-driving, stylish compact crossover

Audi Q3 - front tracking
Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Updates to Audi’s Q3 crossover means it’s right back in the running against rivals like the Range Rover Evoque. It might not be the newest car on the block, but with punchy engines that deliver good performance and strong efficiency, sharp styling and the all-important premium image, the Q3 in S line trim is a contender.

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To keep the Audi Q3 looking fresh, the brand updated the car’s look in 2015 with a new front-end design – the main elements being a new grille, headlights and front bumper.

It’s a smart makeover, but underneath the Q3 is much the same. That’s no bad thing, though, as the Audi is still a great car to drive, with an agile, pointy chassis despite its raised ride height and decent ride quality.

Opt for this S line model with its 20mm lower Sports suspension and comfort does take a hit, but this is a no cost option - so you can have the standard, softer setup from the SE model instead. Other sporty cues like the 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights and S line badges and body kit are welcome though, and help make the Q3 look even slicker.

Audi Q3 - rear tracking

There’s also a powered tailgate, and although the cabin is on the compact side, there’s as much room as an A3 hatchback inside, so with a 420-litre boot the Q3 is practical, too. Solid design and great material quality means it feels a cut above other similar crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, and the S line’s part-cloth, part-leather seats help give an upmarket feel.

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With four different engines on offer, there’s plenty of choice under the bonnet. These include two petrols and two diesels, with the 1.4 TFSI petrol opening the range. Pushing out 148bhp, it’s eager to rev and with its little turbo bolstering the low-down torque, performance is good. So is efficiency, as Audi claims it’ll return up to 50.4mpg combined and 128g/km CO2. A six-speed manual comes as standard, but a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is also available as an option.

If you want the brand’s famous Quattro four-wheel drive system, you’ll have to opt for either the 178bhp 2.0 TFSI petrol, which gets a seven-speed S tronic gearbox as standard. This is the fastest model in the S line range, with 0-62mph taking 7.6 seconds.

Audi Q3 - boot

However, the diesels will be more popular, and come in either 148bhp or 181bhp 2.0-litre TDI form. There’s a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed S tronic auto; four-wheel drive is standard on the high-power model and is available as an option on the 148bhp engine.

Audi’s quattro system does sap efficiency slightly, as the lower power diesel returns 5.4mpg more than the four-wheel drive car at 53.3mpg. CO2 emissions stand at 119g/km for the front-wheel drive variant and 131g/km for the all-wheel drive Q3.

Now read our full in-depth review of the Audi Q3.

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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